With a rally of young people and other community members outside the US Courthouse in downtown LA, and many family and friends inside the courtroom of Judge Manuel Real, Alex Sanchez was again denied justice: On October 19, 2009, Judge Real refused to allow bail for Alex Sanchez. This makes a joke of the bail hearing process. Alex was able to get $2.5 million in sureties and property collateral, as well as close to 150 letters testifying that he would not be a flight risk. But Judge Real decided to overlook all this and take as truth the federal prosecutor's preposterous statements that Alex's many supporters could serve as a means for Alex to hide and flee. If there was ever a case for bail this was it, and Judge Real made a travesty of this process. Alex is facing multiple conspiracy charges, including murder, in a federal case under the RICO Act involving more than 20 members of the Mara Salvatrucha in Los Angeles. This is a large web pulling in some people with hardly any evidence linking them to major crimes, yet the nature of these cases allows for such nets and charges. One woman is facing twenty years for sending messages between her boyfriend and others. In the state courts, this would hardly constitute a criminal offense. Alex is facing a life sentence for conversations that at a minimum shows him trying to stop violence between members of the gang. Prosecutors have even used a tattoo on his chest (Alex has removed most of his tattoos, except for the obvious difficult ones that aren't visible) and a photo of Alex next to other alleged MS members as proof of his "conspiracy." They have no other evidence! Even the wiretaps are suspect. Federal prosecutors, with the testimony of one LAPD detective "gang expert," have misconstrued fairly straightforward conversations to mean Alex was part of a conspiracy to have someone murdered. None of the taped conversations that federal prosecutors claim are the most damaging even mention or deal with murder, but this is how the government makes its case. Unfortunately, most of the mainstream media, which habitually fails to question government evidentiary integrity in such conspiracy trials, helps provide the public perception that Alex must be guilty. The courts, the one place of refuge for justice that is supposed to exist in the system, has fallen down on the job in making sure no frivolous cases are made. In particular to someone like Alex, who has helped stop violence and helped pull many young people away from such warfare and crimes for many years. The community is righteously upset at this latest development, but we will work harder to ensure that Alex is given a fair trial and that real justice is served. We cannot give up. The government, along with other law enforcement agencies as well as those behind building more prisons, is trying to put forward one big lie--that people can't change. Alex was an active gang member in his youth. But for fifteen years, he's raised a good family, helped create and run Homies Unidos, a viable gang intervention program, and has spoken around the country to advocate peace and justice. He has changed and he's not going back. Thousands of others have done the same. We have to keep putting forward what the community knows--anyone can change given the proper circumstances, help, and vision. Please send prayers for Alex, his family, and the community. To help in this cause, go to www.WeAreAlex.org for more information. c/s
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